February 05, 2006

Should we follow Oxford?

Oxford recently announced that each student must sign a contract upon being accepted to enter university that would require them to attend lectures and classes.
link

They have done this to prevent them from being sued if a student does not do well as the student can easily blame the institution for not teaching well….. etc

However, thinking of Warwick uni, I wonder what would the reaction be to such a contract? Many students don't go to all of their lectures, while some don't go to any. I went to do a lecture shout in an engineering lecture in which there were only 20 (out of maybe 250) students present! It makes you wonder what students come to university for?

If lectures were made compulsory then I think the outcome would be more positive, as proffessors that can't teach will be given a lot of negative feedback and hopefully relieved of their duties, as well as in my view it will increase to some extent the grades obtained by students. While many studies show no connection between lectures and grades in introductory modules (e.g. economics 1), however attending lectures positively affects grades in modules which go into deeper understanding of the material.

Most importantly – a lecture has to add value to a text book for students to want to go there. For example I went to all of my Phil lectures in term 1 because the lecturer never just followed the core text, but added immense value to the core readings making attending lectures compulsory by default. Similarly econometrics or mathematical economics lectures I feel add real value to text book knowledge. In the current situation only the most value added lectures and those given by good professors will be attended by most of the students, whereas ones where it is just as easy to read of a text book will (should) not get too many attendeea. So may be if we make it compulsory to attend all lectures, just maybe the lecturers will also feel obliged to do more on their part to make us want to be there out of choice.

So I think it just might be a good idea after all (but not if its a 9 am one!)


- 10 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Debbie Rochon

    I think it's treating adults like children.

    Once you get to university you should be responsible enough to know that the only person who's going to lose out if you don't go to lectures is yourself. unless you're smart enough to get by without them of course, in which case it doesn't really matter.

    05 Feb 2006, 22:52

  2. No, we shouldn't follow Oxford. End of.

    05 Feb 2006, 23:14

  3. totally irrelevant entry really. Stupid business altogether.

    05 Feb 2006, 23:50

  4. I'll blog whatever I want to, its not irrelevent to me.

    Ankit – thats not really an argument is it?

    06 Feb 2006, 00:59

  5. I fail to identify with Oxford's rationale here. What a crap idea!!

    No student in their right mind would have the nerve to blame the institution for them not doing well. The whole principle behind our assessment system is that achievement is relative. Our academic attainment is ranked in relation to all the other students doing on the same course. If I underperformed in my degree, it would be an underperformance compared to other students who have received the same quality of teaching as I have. So to blame the teaching quality would be absurd. If I don't get the mark I think I should, then deep down I know it's because I haven't done enough work. Every student should realise this, and maybe universities wouldn't ahve to put in crazy measures like the one mentioned here.

    06 Feb 2006, 01:00

  6. Some students have done so and have actually recieved compensation for it!!!! I agree it is stupid to blame the university for your own failures

    06 Feb 2006, 12:04

  7. Christopher Rossdale

    The reason Oxford did it isn't to improve anyones education, or to actually make people turn up – it's just to protect themselves from libel. In todays world of legal action, people are in a position where they have to protect themselves, it's not fair, but it's how it is.

    I like the lectures i like, so i go. Some lectures i feel add nothing to my education experience, so i don't go – i stay at home, read the texts, make sure i can teach myself what i'm here to learn. University's a personal experience in that sense; if you feel a lecture helps you you should go, if you don't, don't, its your decision. I fear warwick will follow suit, but it won't lead to mandatory lectures, merely less legal problems.

    07 Feb 2006, 15:06

  8. Yes that is true, it is eventually to save the university from getting sued. But I think it still might be worth it, especially if it hlps drive out the shit lecturers in some of the modules.

    07 Feb 2006, 15:49

  9. If I went to lectures when would I get the time to write my blog entries and comments. When?

    07 Feb 2006, 18:53

  10. :-)

    07 Feb 2006, 21:23


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